Speaking In Tongues
Guided by Voices

Alexander Bashlachev

Translated by Andrey Kneller

* * *

All our neighbors still despise
The moistened shinning of our eyes
But we donít care if others grouch
You have me and I ó my couch
Platinum of dresses, lead of the pants
Choke only those who are afraid to breathe
But we are at ease. Weíve finally shed
All that could hinder the way that we live
Alone in these nights
We put out the lights
With no sorrow to flee
Forgive us our neighbor
That a spoon rings in labor
In a warm cup of tea
You say that Iím handsome and great
Thatís 'cause you look fine in my frame
Just look ó my poor hedgehog has
Shaved off its edges, now it is tamed
But, all of a sudden, you feel a quick prick
Pull out the splinter and forget it please
That's all because my ice-breaking boat
Has not yet adopted to the warm-hearted seas
You almost never sleep
I never sleep enough
I guess that Iím in love
But I will keep my mouth shut
Only telling you that
You are all that I desire
Outside, flakes fall aloof
We could make love on the top of a roof
But if we stand up looking afar
We could do it on a distant star
We should never forget the taste of sorrow and woe
But the sky has a scent of your hair
I cannot reverse the spur of mercuryís glare
You seem tired, let me sing you something I know
You say that I can sing pretty good
And thatís what matters, my friend
Itís simple, I never lie in these songs
I guess that I simply canít
My laws are clear and Iím sure
We are stainless and pure
And we all have a desire to breathe
You shouldnít sleep in this night
Rather shed with great pride
All that hinders the way that you live


* * *



Forgive me my sins, I forgot all the prayers
If you wish so, I'll sing
And pray that my words are enough
Just explain this one thing
That has bothered me lately
Do I love 'cause it hurts or does it hurt 'cause I love?


* * *



When the furious blizzard the spirit has sizzled,
And gale freshly meshed out the flesh,
When the treasury's low,
And dreams -- inside out, and the crotch is unlatched
Breathe into your soul and pull where outmatched, --
The spring will barge in with a draw.


The winter still hinders. All links -- to the spring.
With seconds on ages, the dusty small stages,
Sweeps the enchanting wind of true love.
Don't ever stop short -- go after this Word --
Keep trying and trying, it's never enough.
It's simple and lofty, there's no one not worthy,
There's no one, not worthy of love.


But how could you love them -- so dirty, averse,
In squalor submersed, in swelter immersed?
Maybe a colleague, a boss or a friend
Perchance, to aid a handicapped man,
To give it to those who would ask.
But all of the others, -- the strangers at night,
And just like a lover, a daughter, a bride, --
How could you, allow me to ask?


It's simple and lofty -- just find a place
As high as a mount. Spill the dark cloud
With a lightening sphere, -- with a fiery tear ó
The sky looks so lordly!
And with a pure hand harvest the stars.
Grind them softly,
And knead the dough for the rest!


And then, -- as you know. Gather your dough
And take all the dough to ill grounds and store
And let it slowly grow in the reins.
With fire-wood, boards -- and then with pure words ó
And then with pure words ó keep the fire indoors
With flogging and ardor -- so softness would harden
Into the crust on sharp blades.


And out of the steam, and out of the fray,
Oh, how strong he seemed, when he ran away! --
On the smooth, even road and the short, little trail
The Kolobok's outcry abides.
Right by the edge of the cowardly ravine
Next to the tomb of the financial womb
Like a pair to the warm and the blistering word
Look, do not look -- you won't notice them both --
Love will uplift him and haul him in rapture, --
In rapture, will capture him into the skies.


But all is ahead, -- it's too early, too soon,
The heart in the chest has not found its wound
To be even enough in confession with love
And preserve Russian speech in reserve.
Thus, we must live and vainly strive for the Word
And not bend our souls by the cracks in the road
And push ourselves further and further up front
Into the stove with full verve.


Don't mind the blizzard -- Keep pushing your spirit
To where the windows point just outward not inward
Over your body, with a broom time will sweep
Then, we shall see what will fall in each sleeve.
Oh, how much there will fall!
But you can't just conceal the soul's passionate awl
So live -- do not grieve, and with sinew retrieve
The pie, where it's taken from fire and heat
Where it shall get brighter for all!